PROMISE UNFULFILLED FOR PEARCE The Nurburgring 1000kms, round four of the Le Mans Endurance Series, didn't last long for Stratford-upon-Avon racer Patrick Pearce, but he had looked set for a podium finish until his TVR succumbed to ...
PROMISE UNFULFILLED FOR PEARCE
The Nurburgring 1000kms, round four of the Le Mans Endurance Series, didn't last long for Stratford-upon-Avon racer Patrick Pearce, but he had looked set for a podium finish until his TVR succumbed to damage inflicted by a rival.
After qualifying on Saturday, the pair of Team LNT TVR T400Rs filled the second row of the GT2 class grid, with Pearce and co-driver Marc Hynes lining-up fourth. Once again, the TVRs weren't quite on the pace of the class benchmark Ferrari 360s, but with six unpredictable hours of racing around the European Grand Prix venue ahead of them, victory was still a strong possibility for Pearce and Hynes.
Pearce produced the performance of his life in the last LMES round at Silverstone, where a windscreen wiper failure left him driving 'blind' in torrential rain. The weather conditions were much better in Germany, but Patrick had an unwelcome moment of deja vu when his visibility suddenly disappeared at the start of the race...
"The on-board fire extinguisher went off by itself at the first corner," he explained. "I couldn't see a thing. Thank goodness the safety car came out (due to incidents elsewhere in the giant 44-car field) because that gave me a chance to clear my visor and try to dry my boots off a bit."J
By the time racing resumed, Pearce had clear vision again and quickly established himself in the top four. He lost a little ground to his team-mates in traffic, and was then clouted by a chasing Porsche. The impact damaged the diffuser on Patrick's TVR, making it difficult to stay on the pace. A second hit from another Porsche shortly afterwards didn't help, and led to further damage, this time to the differential. This would have dramatic consequences a little later.
"I finished my stint and handed the car over to Marc, but then the differential blew itself to pieces just after he had taken over," said Pearce. "It basically tried to escape its casing... So it was another race where we had the pace to get a really good result, but not the reliability -- although to be fair, this failure only happened because we were hit by the Porsches."
Given the way the race later unfolded, Pearce and Hynes would have had a very good shot at the GT2 class victory if they had made it to the end. But rather than dwelling on this misfortune, Patrick and Team LNT are already looking towards the fifth and final round of the 2005 LMES in November. The championship finale takes place at the awesome new Istanbul Otodrom that proved such a hit with the Formula One drivers during the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix last month, a fitting setting for the deciding round of Europe's foremost sportscar championship.